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May 15, 2020


OML UPDATE AT-A-GLANCE
Here are the top three things you need to know from the past few days:
 
  • The National League of Cities (NLC) has released a critical report on the fiscal impact of the pandemic on municipalities, which places Ohio as one of the top 10 states most at risk for revenue loss. You can read more in the article below.
  • The Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced that 126,159 small businesses in Ohio have been lent a total of $19 billion through the federal Payroll Protection Program. The loans will be forgiven if employees are kept employed for eight weeks and the money is only used for payroll, rent or mortgage interest, and utilities.
  • The Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) reported that state tax receipts for April came in below projections by 35.5%, or $866.5 million. OBM also reported that spending for the month fell below estimates by 5%, or $135.4 million.
  • Next week, the League will go back to releasing legislative bulletins only on Friday.
 
 
 
NLC RELEASES REPORT ON COVID-19 FISCAL IMPACTS ON
MUNICIPALITIES

The National League of Cities (NLC) has released the Fiscal Impact of the Pandemic Recession on Cities, Towns and Villages, an important report on the fiscal impact of the pandemic on municipalities across the nation. You can read a one-pager on the report HERE and access the policy brief HERE.
 
As evidenced in the report, Ohio has been named one of the top 10 most-impacted states for municipal revenue loss. The report's data estimates a $4,585,342,000 collective municipal budget shortfall, which is an overall 30.4% loss in revenue. Nationwide, cities will see a total of $134 billion in revenue loss in 2020 alone, which is a 21.6% loss of revenue. Over the next three years, cities nationwide will experience a total loss of $360 billion.
 
These numbers will play a crucial role in communicating to Congress the need for robust, direct and flexible funding to municipalities in a phase 4 federal aid package. This report will also highlight for the Ohio General Assembly the urgency to distribute federal aid to our cities and villages, and the necessity of future state investment to ensure municipalities can continue to deliver the quality local services Ohioans deserve. There must be support for revitalizing local economies in order to rebuild a strong economy nationwide.
 
 
 
OHIO UPDATES ON CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE
  • As of Friday afternoon, Ohio is reporting 26,954 cases of coronavirus, 1,581 deaths, 4,791 hospitalizations and 1,277 ICU admissions.
  • On Sunday, May 31, child care providers in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these providers can meet required safety protocols. You can find the full list of mandatory and recommended best practices HERE .
  • To assist in the reopening of child care centers, Ohio will seek to use more than $60 million in federal CARES Act funding to provide reopening grants to all of Ohio's child care providers, including family child care, child care centers, and both publicly-funded and private providers.
  • Governor DeWine also announced that Ohio will fund a research project to study best practices for controlling the spread of COVID-19 in child care settings. Information gathered from the study will continue to inform child care regulations moving forward.
  • Here are the following reopenings the DeWine Administration announced this week:
  • May 26: Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) locations in Ohio will be permitted to reopen for certain services if these facilities can meet required safety protocols. Services that can be accomplished online should still be done online. More details on online BMV services can be found at oplates.com.
  • May 26: gyms and fitness centers in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these facilities can meet required safety protocols. A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov.
  • May 26: sports leagues in Ohio will be permitted to operate if these leagues can meet required safety protocols. This applies only to non-contact and limited-contact sports. A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov. Safety protocols for high-contact sports are in development.
  • May 26: public pools and club pools that are regulated by local health departments in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these facilities can meet required safety protocols. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas. Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water. A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices will be available soon at coronavirus.ohio.gov.
  • May 22: horse racing in Ohio will be permitted if these operations can meet required safety protocols. Spectators will not be permitted. A full list of mandatory and recommended best practices will be available soon at coronaviurs.ohio.gov. This does not apply to casinos and racinos, as safety protocols for these venues are in development.
  • May 21: campgrounds in Ohio will be permitted to reopen if these facilities can meet required safety protocols. The full list of mandatory and recommended best practices for both campgrounds and campers is attached.
  • Attached are the Director of Health orders for reopening personal services and restaurants and bars.
  • For the week ending May 9, 2020, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) reported 51,125 initial jobless claims to the U.S. Dept. of Labor. Over these last eight weeks, ODJFS has distributed more than $2.4 billion in unemployment compensation payments to more than 587,000 claimants. Of the more than 1 million applications the agency has received, 90% have been processed, with only 10% pending.
 
 
 
 
OPEA TO HOST WEBINAR ON COMMUNITY ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
 
The Ohio EPA Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance is launching a new series of webinars focused on those environmental issues that have an impact at the local level. These webinars will occur throughout the year and cover a wide range of topics from how Ohio EPA regulates sources of air pollution, waste management, wastewater and storm water discharges, and different ways communities can promote environmental stewardship and improve the environment in your local area. The webinar will take place on May 21 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. For more information, click HERE.
 
   
 
LEGISLATION PASSED IMPACTING MUNICIPALITIES
 
Here is a bill with municipal impact that passed the House this week:
 
  • HB 421 - STATUTORY IMMUNITY-HOSPITAL POLICE (SMITH J, BLAIR G) To provide a municipal corporation or county immunity from civil and criminal liability in any action that arises from a hospital police officer acting directly in the discharge of the person's duties as a police officer and that occurs on the premises of the hospital or its affiliates or subsidiaries or elsewhere in the municipal corporation or county. The bill was amended in the House Civil Justice Committee to include portions of HB 27, which was sponsored by Rep. Ingram (D - Cincinnati) and dealt with sovereign immunity for local governments. The League is still examining the impact of these amendments. The bill was then passed unanimously by the House. (Link: https://bit.ly/2Z2M3Ym)
 
 
COMMITTEE RECAP: BILLS OF MUNICIPAL INTEREST
Here are the bills impacting municipalities that received committee hearings this week:
  • HB 573 - OCCUPATIONAL DISEASES. Sponsored by Rep. Sobecki (D - Toledo) and Rep. Boggs (D - Columbus), would make COVID-19 an occupational disease under the Workers' Compensation Law under certain circumstances and to declare an emergency. During its first hearing before the House Insurance Committee, the bill's sponsors explained that the bill is intended to classify COVID -19 under the Workers' Compensation law as an occupational disease for those workers deemed essential during the Governor's declaration of a state of emergency. The League is still looking into this legislation.
            (Link: https://bit.ly/3bCygdJ )
  • HB 614 - UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION. Sponsored by Rep. Frazier (R - Newark) and Rep. Richardson (R - Marysville), would study and reform the application, processing, and administration infrastructure of Ohio's unemployment compensation system. During its first hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee, the bill's sponsors explained that the bill would "study and reform the application, processing, and administration infrastructure of Ohio's unemployment compensation system." The League is still looking into this legislation.(Link: https://bit.ly/3dQyuPW)
  • HB 606 - CIVIL IMMUNITY. Sponsored by Rep. Grendell (R - Chesterland), would grant civil immunity to a person who provides services for essential businesses and operations for injury, death, or loss that was caused by the transmission of COVID-19 during the period of emergency declared by Executive Order 2020-01D, issued on March 9, 2020, and declare an emergency. During its first hearing before the House Civil Justice Committee, the Ohio Health Care Association, representing nursing homes, testified in support of the bill saying it protected health care workers. The League is still looking into this legislation.(Link: https://bit.ly/2Lw5pgD)


COMMITTEE SCHEDULE FOR THE WEEK OF MAY 17, 2020
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
HOUSE INSURANCE
Tue., May. 19, 2020, 10:00 AM, Hearing Room 116
Rep. Brinkman: 614-644-6886
Overflow: Hearing Room 114
 
COVID-19 - OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE (BOGGS K) To make COVID-19 contracted by a peace officer, firefighter, or emergency medical worker an occupational disease under the Workers' Compensation Law under certain circumstances and to declare an emergency. 
 
First Hearing, Sponsor Testimony
 
Report(s):  My Tracked Bills, OML Legislative Report
 
HOUSE CIVIL JUSTICE
Tue., May. 19, 2020, 3:00 PM, Hearing Room 121
Rep. Hambley: 614-466-8140
Overflow in Hearing Room 122
 
CIVIL IMMUNITY - COVID-19 TRANSMISSION (GRENDELL D) To grant civil immunity to a person who provides services for essential businesses and operations for injury, death, or loss that was caused by the transmission of COVID-19 during the period of emergency declared by Executive Order 2020-01D, issued on March 9, 2020, and to declare an emergency. 
 
Third Hearing, All Testimony
 
Report(s):  My Tracked Bills, OML Legislative Report
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
SENATE JUDICIARY
Wed., May. 20, 2020, 9:15 AM, South Hearing Room
Sen. Eklund: 614-644-7718
 
CIVIL LIABILITY-EMERGENCY SERVICES (HUFFMAN M) To revise the law governing immunity from civil liability and professional discipline for health care providers during disasters or emergencies, to provide qualified civil immunity to service providers providing services during and after a government-declared disaster, and to declare an emergency. 
 
Third Hearing, All Testimony, AMENDMENTS/POSSIBLE VOTE
 
Report(s):  My Tracked Bills, OML Legislative Report

CHECK OUR WEBSITE MONDAY FOR ANY CHANGES TO THE COMMITTEE SCHEDULE
Ohio Municipal League Meetings & Trainings

Due to COVID-19 OML Meetings & Trainings are currently postponed. 

OML/OMAA Webinar

May 21, 2020 11:00 am ~ 12:00 pm
"AN EMPLOYMENT LAW UPDATE - from Discrimination to COVID-19 to the First Amendment "
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